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Don’t limit ATKT to this year, says court

mumbai Updated: Sep 25, 2009 02:31 IST
HT Correspondent

From this year on, Class 10 students who fail in one or two subjects can apply for Class 11 admissions.

The state’s newly introduced ATKT (Allowed To Keep Term) scheme was limited to students who wrote their Class 10 exam in March 2009. The Bombay High Court, while commending the scheme, has ruled that limiting it to this year alone is discriminatory, and that it should apply to every Class 10 batch from here on. Nearly 1,50,000 students will benefit from the scheme this year.

Four party workers of the BJP’s student wing, the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad, had challenged the scheme on grounds of discrimination. On Thursday, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Ajay Khanvilkar struck down the part of the scheme that limited its benefits to this year.

“It gives only a one-time benefit,” the judges said, referring to the limiting clause. “Continuing the ATKT facility in future, until any other change is introduced, will alone efface the plea of discrimination.”

Still, students availing the ATKT scheme will have second preference when it comes to Class 11 admissions. The court directed the state to ensure that available first-year junior college (FYJC) seats are first offered to those students who have passed, and that “only leftover seats, if any, should be offered to candidates seeking admission under the ATKT facility.”

The court has also asked the state to ensure that proper infrastructure is created in higher secondary schools and junior colleges to accommodate around 1,50,000 students who will qualify for FYJC admissions under the new scheme.

The court has ordered the state to frame guidelines for admission of ATKT students by treating them as a class separate from passed students.

The state government has set up a committee to consider the supplementary examination pattern for SSC students.

The committee’s report, which is expected before the next academic year begins, could substantially change the way the admission process plays out in future.

Frequently asked questions

Who can apply for junior college seats under the Allowed To Keep Term (ATKT) scheme?

Students who have failed in either one or two subjects in the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination will be eligible to apply for junior college seats under the ATKT scheme.

How many students are eligible to apply for ATKT?

In Mumbai, Thane and Raigad districts, there are 32,017 students — 11,443 who have failed in two subjects and 20,574 who have failed in one subject — who are eligible to apply. There are a total of 1.34 lakh students across Maharashtra who will be eligible to apply for ATKT.

How will these students be accommodated?

There are around 27,000 vacant seats in junior colleges in Mumbai, Thane and Raigad districts. Across Maharashtra, there are 1.72 lakh vacant junior college seats.

There are more eligible students in Mumbai and the adjoining districts than vacant seats. How will all the students be accommodated?

It is unlikely that all the students who are eligible will apply to junior colleges under the ATKT scheme. Some may opt to re-appear for the SSC examination. However, if required, additional divisions will be added in junior colleges in areas where there are more students than seats.

How will students know where to apply?

Our ward offices will put up comprehensive lists of colleges that have vacant seats. Officers and junior colleges will counsel students on where they can apply.

Sources: Office of deputy director of education, Mumbai, and deputy director of education V.K. Wankhede